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Photonics Research of Bio/Nano Environments

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Our work on pulse oximeter was spotlighted by National Public Radio

The NPR news reported our work in pulse oximeter and the article together with an audio could be found here: ‘When it comes to darker skin, pulse oximeters fall short‘. The article showed our opinion that the commercial devices have been shown in research to produce inaccurate results in dark-skinned people, and our lab is developing technology that would be more accurate, regardless of skin tone.

Our pulse oximeter work got reported by Boston Globe

Our pulse oximetry work that aims to take racial bias out of oxygen readings by using a single wavelength of light that bypasses the skin is reported by Boston Globe, titled ‘A blood-oxygen detector without racial bias‘. Having completed preliminary testing, we intend to start clinical trials in a couple of months to confirm that their prototype eliminates skin-color bias.

A prototype of the pulse oximeter

Professor Toussaint organized the second in a series of Home Health Technologies in 2032 meetings to conceptualize equitable health tech of future

An interdisciplinary group of experts came together at Brown University for the second in a series of Home Health Technologies in 2032 meetings, namely Workshop 2: Healthcare Technologies in the Living Environment, to explore how emerging technologies might better support improved health and well-being without ever leaving home. Over the course of a day and a half in early June, working groups made of up varying stakeholders identified how in-home tech could drive paradigm shifts in healthcare, paying particular attention to solutions that would reduce the load on healthcare systems, address accessibility and equity for all populations and could realistically be translated into the home itself within ten years.

For more details about the event, please visit: https://engineering.brown.edu/news/2022-06-14/hht-32-part-2

Our pulse oximeter work got cited in Politico article titled ‘Flawed oxygen readings may be behind Covid-19’s toll on people of color’

Pulse oximeters can overestimate blood oxygen in people with dark skin. Rutendo Jakachira, a PhD student in our lab, aims to use a single wavelength of light to bypass the skin. Recently her work got cited in an article in Politico titled ‘Flawed oxygen readings may be behind Covid-19’s toll on people of color’.

Rutendo Jakachira Awarded Optica Foundation Amplify Scholarship for Study of Pulse Oximetry and Race

Rutendo Jakachira, a second-year Ph.D. student in Brown University’s Department of Physics, has received an inaugural Optica Foundation Amplify Scholarship. Jakachira was one of only fifteen students selected from around the world for the award, intended to “support Black students and their passion for light science.”

Jakachira will use the funds to continue working on a project with considerable implications for people of color around the world. For years it has been known that patients with darker skin receive less accurate blood oxygen measurements using pulse oximeters than those with lighter skin. Jakachira, in conjunction with Brown University Professor of Engineering Kimani C. Toussaint, is working to create a non-invasive method of obtaining accurate blood oxygen readings from people with darker skin.


Brown convenes scholars to envision the future of home-based health tech

On Feb. 17 and 18, Brown University hosted a workshop to explore the technological challenges and opportunities presented by this massive shift to home-based care. Titled Home Health Technologies in 2032, the event gathered more than 90 physicians, biomedical engineers, technologists, social scientists and others for virtual meetings.

The workshop’s organizing committee included Professor Toussaint along with other Brown engineering faculty members.

Professor Toussaint said the goal was to bring medical experts together with technologists to help plot the course of home health care over the next decade.

“We need to think about what kinds of technologies are needed most — whether for diagnostics or therapeutics or some combination of the two — and how these technologies could interface with the existing health care infrastructure,” Toussaint said. “At the same time, it’s critical that we start thinking right from the very beginning about how to make these technologies affordable and accessible to everyone, so that we’re not perpetuating existing disparities or creating new ones. The idea is to develop a roadmap for how these technological changes will unfold over the next 10 years.”


Our publication featured on the cover of JBO

Congratulations to Adriana on her paper featured on the cover of Journal of Biomedical Optics [Volume 27 Issue 1]. The paper titled, “Fluid mechanics approach to analyzing collagen fiber organization”, in collaboration with Professors Johnny Guzman and Maurice Fabien in the Department of Applied Mathematics at Brown University and the group of Professor Raffaella De Vita at Virginia Tech.

Professor Toussaint presented at NSF Workshop

Professor Kimani Toussaint served as a panelist in session four of the National Science Foundation workshop, Advancing Organic/Biodevices – Sensing, Stimulation and Communication, focusing on the intersection of semiconductor devices and biological sensors and control. The workshop aimed to develop a vision for directed research in future innovations in semiconductors and related materials, both to promote economic growth and continued U.S. leadership in this critical sector.


Professor Toussaint named to AIMBE 2021 Class of Fellows

Professor Kimani Toussaint has been elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows. Representing a select group of the top two percent of medical and biological engineering professionals, the College of Fellows is comprised of outstanding bioengineers in academia, industry and government. Professor Toussaint becomes the sixth AIMBE Fellow from Brown University.

AIMBE is a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., representing the most accomplished individuals in the fields of medical and biological engineering. Its mission is to provide leadership and advocacy in medical and biological engineering for the benefit of society.


Professor Toussaint appointed to board of reviewing editors for Science

Professor Toussaint was recently named to Science magazine’s Board of Reviewing Editors (BoRE). The board members offer expert advice to senior editors at Science, and Professor Toussaint was pegged for his expertise in bio imaging and nanophotonics. Congratulations!


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